Utah Students Are Achieving Higher Test Scores in English and Math

Higher Academic Standards Were Adopted for Kindergarten Through 12th Grade Three Years Ago
Audio: 
Joleigh Honey, President, Utah Council of Teachers of Mathematics

(Salt Lake City, UT, Wednesday, December 14, 2016) - We need to put all of our students on a path to success – whether that’s college or a job. In order to do that, we need to hold all of our kids to high standards.

Three years ago, Utah adopted higher academic standards from kindergarten through 12th grade. We’ve now had two years of tests aligned to these high standards and we’re seeing student scores start to rise. In fact, in math, our kids are showing some really promising results. We’ve seen students in grades 3 through 8 make strong gains – with  the number of students on grade level increasing 1.5 percentage points in English Language Arts and 2 percentage points in math, compared to students last year.

When we look at those gains by grade level, we’re also seeing some really exciting trends in math for our youngest learners who have only been taught under the higher standards. This year, more than 53% of our third graders are ready for 4th grade, as compared to 50% the year before. That’s over 3 percentage points of growth in math. These gains are important because they show that more students are on grade level and rising to the challenge of the higher standards. It’s not because Utah made it easier for students to pass tests.

Change won’t happen overnight. It takes time. And we have to work harder. We have to support our students and our teachers in reaching these goals. But lowering the bar is never the right thing to do. We’re seeing that high standards really do make a difference for all our kids. 

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